Community News

TCS Procurement update

The TCS (Trusted Certificate Service, formerly known as TERENA Certificate Service) is a certificate service that provides the GÉANT members and the wider R&E community with certificates that are recognised by popular web browsers, mobile devices and other user applications. GÉANT is coordinating a joint procurement on behalf of the participating NRENs to provide unlimited number of certificates to their constituencies for a fixed price. The TCS has been running since 2005 and was supplied by 3 CAs so far (2005 – 2010 Global Sign, 2010 – 2015 Comodo, 2015 – 2020 DigiCert). The current contract with DigiCert will expire in May 2020. For that reason, GÉANT has started preparations for the fourth TCS procurement cycle.

In preparation for the procurement, 3 Infoshare sessions with the community were organised throughout April. The sessions were public and were attended by both management and technical staff of the participating NRENs and those that are not currently using the TCS. A total of 22 NRENs were represented. All sessions started with a short presentation on the current TCS service, followed by a discussion on the proposed new technical requirements.

TCS Statistics

The number of the NREN TCS members changes slightly every year, but is always around 30 and includes almost all European NRENs. Based on the current agreement, a total of 70 NRENs or equivalent organisations could potentially become TCS members.

The total number of certificates downloaded by all organisations using the TCS is steadily increasing every year, reaching over 90,000 in 2018.

One of the statistics requested by the members prior to the Infoshare sessions were the numbers of the Standard SSL and WildCard certificates, as those are the ones offered by Let’s Encrypt for free. The numbers of the said certificates downloaded via the TCS show that there is no visible impact on the popularity of this part of the service since 2016.

TCS Technical requirements

One of the main parts of the procurement documentation is the list of the service Technical Requirements, which needed to be updated since they were gathered last time in 2014. In December 2018, the members of the TCS PMA (Policy Management Authority) gathered in Amsterdam to work on the draft version of the document to be shared with the wider community for comments and input.

The members of the TCS PMA are experts of the service from the community appointed by GÉANT: Kent Engström (Linköping University/SUNET), Teun Nijssen (Tilburg University/SURFnet), Kurt Bauer (ACONET), David Groep (Nikhef), and the newest member Dominique Launay (RENATER), who joined the group at the end of last year.

The document prepared by the TCS PMA was shared with the members of the TCS and those who registered to attend the Infoshare sessions. Following that, some feedback was received via email and some other questions and comment were raised during the sessions. The agreed changes were then incorporated into the second version of the Technical Requirements document, which will be used as part of the procurement documentation package.

The TCS procurement documents are being finalised this month and the procurement will be published shortly after.

For more information, please contact Sigita Jurkynaite at GÉANT.